I’m going to come right out and say it: I am a snob. Nothing will set me off about the decline of civilization faster than reality tv (except maybe Crocs. I mean, they are NOT work appropriate, people). But I mean trashy reality shows, of course. Not the ones I watch.
I stand by this snobbishness, however. I watch Mythbusters, Ice Road Truckers, North Woods Law, and Treehouse Masters (you haven’t seen Treehouse Masters?? Oh, you have to check it out! Animal Planet 🙂 ). Why do I think these are better than Married at First Sight, The Bachelor/Bachelorette or Real Housewives…of anywhere?
Because in My reality people work together to build things. There are, of course, occasional personality clashes, but they don’t dwell on them and expand them to make the show more interesting. But in Their reality, bad behavior is rewarded. The more screams, fights, pushing, drinking (yes, Party Down South, I am looking at you), and tears there are, the better the ratings. And it is called reality! Why on earth would the people watching the shows not believe that is the proper way to act?
I think in fact people do feel that acting like the people on tv is ok. I think such insidious emotions such as hate, anger, jealousy; portrayed by what we consider actual people versus actors we know are playing a part, encourage us to think that such emotions are valid to act upon. Not that I think that people should ignore such feelings if they are indeed being walked upon. But these people have no such excuse, they are simply behaving badly to get us to watch them.
Some reality TV, particularly on the networks, doesn’t really matter one way or the other in this argument –except that I find it boring. Who cares if someone who had a tv show ten years ago can outdance another person we haven’t seen in eight years?? Sadly I am also bored by American Idol and The Voice. But I don’t think they are contributing to the downfall of civilization, just the downfall of Primetime TV.
I am not sure where the entertainment value of these shows come in. Perhaps it is the soap opera-ness of it. Perhaps some people just watch to see how stupid the others act. But I don’t think it is a good thing to continuously expose oneself to such behavior. Sooner or later One will start to feel that it is ok to treat other people as they do on tv. And then we are all in trouble. So yes, I like My reality better.